What with Harvard’s production of a self-assembling ‘origami flat-pack robot’, new lift technology that could lead to the construction of buildings taller than the Burj Khalifa, and enviable graduate pay packages with Google and Microsoft, there is little doubt that today’s engineers operate at the forefront of global interdisciplinary development.
Engineering graduates are likely to experience the astounding duality of finding their work interesting while also maintaining an edge in the merciless international job market. To most, this combination seems unfathomable; read on to understand the top five reasons why the sphere of engineering has students’ best interests at heart.
Engineers can …
1. Have global impact
Einstein made a valid point when he suggested that “scientists investigate that which already is; engineers create that which has never been”. Whether you choose to develop transportation structures, improve water systems or design your next office block, if you have chosen to be an engineer, you have chosen to be an innovator. Many believe that the only way to change the world is to take a gap year and volunteer overseas; engineers improve lives by creating. Take Biomedical Engineers, for example: did you know that they design, create and improve medical devices such as prosthetics and artificial organs? An engineering education requires students to investigate some of the most complex global challenges; today’s graduates have the opportunity to tackle areas such as electric cars, aeronautical development and the escalating energy crisis. Think engineers spend all day fixing cars? Think again.
2. Achieve financial security
Engineers working in Australia may be forced to endure the (hopefully affable) jealousy of friends from other sectors following the release of recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which reveal that engineers account for five of the 20 highest-paying jobs per hour in the country. Mining Engineers are the most affluent of the five, earning an impressive $65.50 per hour. US and UK engineers enjoy equally lucrative careers, with those employed in the US also appearing among the country’s top 20 most highly-paid careers. In the UK, engineering graduate starting salaries range from £25-35,000 per year, from where they increase steadily. While the prioritisation of salary when choosing a career will, undoubtedly, differ between individuals, it cannot be denied that a degree in Engineering lays the foundations for an extremely well-remunerated career.
3. Climb the career ladder
Engineering is one of the most common undergraduate degree subjects among corporate leaders. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, began his career as an engineer, as did Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Unlike other technical careers, the range of basic skills required to pursue engineering, including communication, risk management and attention to detail, mean that engineers are well-equipped to move not only into different sectors, but also into competitive senior positions. According to Patrick Hapsel, senior programme manager at Cadence Design Systems, engineers often find themselves in diverse areas such as finance, business development and investment banking. In short, engineers are in demand, as indicated by the fact that 92% of UK Engineering graduates find employment within six months of graduation.
4. Enjoy career satisfaction
A recent UK study has shown that engineers of various types represent seven of the top 100 careers for job satisfaction, suggesting that they are, on the whole, a rather contented bunch. The fact that engineers’ work is influenced by changes in technology, science, business and, often, the planet, means that their work is varied, challenging and founded on the latest, cutting-edge information. Operating as part of a constantly evolving discipline, engineers need not worry about the possibility of boredom. Even the most experienced professionals in the field continue to be surprised by their work throughout their careers, and are constantly required to refresh and update their skills.
5. Be women!
Excellent prospects, career satisfaction and high wages are not reserved solely for male engineers. As condescending as this statement may seem, women remain the minority group in STEM-related careers across the world, representing 15.5% of all UK STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) positions, 11% of the US engineering workforce and a meagre 9% of engineering professionals in Korea. Formidable female role models, such as Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, and IBM chief executive Virginia Rometty, should act as inspiration to women who may previously have labelled engineering as a ‘masculine pursuit’ and spur them on to explore what is an accessible, satisfying and lucrative profession.
Read on to learn about institutions in the UK, Canada and Australia which offer some of the world’s best Engineering programmes.
SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MATERIALS SCIENCE, QUEEN MARY UNIVERSITY – LONDON, UK
Celebrated as one of the UK’s leading Russell Group universities, with league table rankings that confirm its place among global educational leaders, Queen Mary has been attracting some of the world’s brightest minds for over 125 years. The rare combination of innovative, flexible courses, proven graduate employability and sociable campus lifestyle in central London render Queen Mary an excellent option for students who are keen to succeed while enjoying life in the heart of the UK’s vibrant capital. Read the full profile.
SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND BUILT ENVIRONMENT, GLASGOW CALEDONIAN UNIVERSITY – SCOTLAND, UK
A progressive university recognised for its focus on innovation, employability and leadership, Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) prides itself on its strong international reputation. One of three academic schools within the university, the GCU School of Engineering and Built Environment provides both undergraduate and postgraduate students with flexible study options, including web-based distance learning, links with professional bodies and courses tailored to current industry requirement. Among other professionally-accredited courses, GCU is renowned for its inventive programmes in construction, property and the natural environment.
UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, SYDNEY – AUSTRALIA
The University of Technology – Sydney (UTS), awarded five stars for excellence in higher education by QS and named as one of the top 400 universities in the world by the Times Higher Education, is notable for its hands-on, practise-based approach to education. A vibrant, cosmopolitan university located in central Sydney, UTS is proud to host and support a thriving international student community. To supplement their numerous undergraduate and postgraduate Engineering courses, the university offers industry-sponsored scholarships, facilitates internships within the engineering trade and runs a global exchange programme which enables students to gain transferrable intercultural skills by studying at a UTS Partner university in Asia, Europe or the Americas.
FACULTY OF ENGINEERING, MCMASTER UNIVERSITY – CANADA
Internationally distinguished for its broad spectrum of course options and dynamic environment, McMaster University in Ontario is committed to inspiring students to think creatively, critically and innovatively. The student-led, problem-based ‘McMaster Model’ of teaching has inspired and been adopted by a number of institutions around the world. McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering, despite taking pride in its history and traditions, is keen to adapt its programmes to the shifting requirements of the current industry. In addition to offering typical undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including Chemical Engineering and Engineering Practice, the Faculty has recently introduced new programmes such as Software Engineering and Business Informatics to help students to secure their places at the forefront of the engineering sector.
SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF LINCOLN – UK
Students searching for a vibrant, modern university with its finger on the pulse of current engineering innovation need look no further than the University of Lincoln’s School of Engineering. Despite its youth, having opened in 2011, the School of Engineering has already gained a reputation for its exemplary research and proactive approach to engagement with business; they are among only five universities in the UK who partner with Siemens. Besides providing core undergraduate and postgraduate course options, the School is active in encouraging a greater number of women to engage with science and engineering, and is keen to promote students’ research at international conferences. The combination of state-of-the-art facilities, research-centric tuition and a highly qualified, international body of staff render the University of Lincoln’s School of Engineering a superb option for students searching for a stimulating, rewarding engineering education.
CARDIFF SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING, CARDIFF UNIVERSITY – WALES, UK
Ranked 6th in the UK, with the 2014 National Student Survey’s highest attendee satisfaction rate in the Russell Group for Civil Engineering, there can be little doubt that Cardiff University’s School of Engineering is a popular destination for Engineering students. Besides offering standard undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, Cardiff University has recently defined itself as the first university in Europe to produce graduates from the Agilent programme. This scheme, in which universities collaborate with businesses, recognises students with expertise in Frequency/Microwave design and measurement; participants gain valuable industry experience, which affords them an advantage over their contemporaries in the competitive job market. As the opportunity to partner with Agilent Technologies is only offered to institutions with a demonstrably high standard of teaching and cutting-edge technology, their history of partnership with Cardiff University serves as an accolade not only to the institution’s progressive approach, but also to the impressive standard of its education.